Sally Rooney, private chronicler for the public generation


The TV series based on Sally Rooney’s novel seems to be intentional Ordinary people On the small screen in April 2020. Since most parts of the world are confined to homes, the intermittent relationship between Cornell and Marian (two teenagers who are annoyed by the social and family environment of the Irish town) is immediately attractive.

BBC/Hulu TV series have been viewed more than 62 million times on BBC iPlayer; an Instagram account dedicated to Cornell silver necklaces has gained more than 100,000 followers; Rooney has won a whole new audience. Suddenly, the novelist who is often referred to as-somewhat derogatory-“the voice of millennials” became a writer of our time.

This week, with the publication of her third novel– Beautiful world, where are you ——Rooney became the focus again. The author’s private life (she is increasingly protected), her politics (she calls herself a Marxist), and her literary qualifications have all become controversial.

Like the two previous books, Rooney’s latest book focuses on a group of young people similar to her age. E-mail and face-to-face communication between best friends Irene and Alice (a successful novelist who shares many similarities with Rooney) and their respective partners provide the structure. Anxious, indifferent, stubborn and fragile, their worries include political crisis, climate change, biological clock, “sexual personality” and the evil of celebrity culture.

“They are very acrimonious people,” Rooney said of her role. In an interview with the Financial Times in 2018“They are conflict-oriented and like to express themselves verbally. In some cases, I am also such a person.”

Rooney was born in 1991 among three brothers and sisters in Castlebar, Ireland. He grew up in the country’s so-called Celtic Tiger boom, a boom period driven by foreign investment. But when she started studying for a degree in English at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland — and the world at large — was being affected by the 2008 financial crisis.

“In my opinion, the preconceived notions about the economy have proved to be very wrong,” she told the Financial Times. “So then it’s like’oh, what else is a lie?’… It [shifted] In my opinion, in a sense, I have become more critical of the universal truth about society and the human condition. “

As a student, Rooney became the most competitive debater on the European continent. It was her 2015 article on the matter “Even if you beat me” that caught the attention of Tracy Bohan, the agent of The Wylie Agency.

“I was shocked by the clarity of the text,” Bohan explained. “Its wisdom and honesty [but] Sally’s very special sense of humor, which I began to understand and love, is also in it. ” Conversations with friends It was sold out by Faber after seven auctions. Ordinary people More than 1 million copies will be sold.

So far Beautiful world Received most of the enthusiastic comments (the Financial Times’ Compare Rooney and Proust). But praise is never universal.Novelist Will Self is fired Ordinary people As a “very simple thing”. Last month, the Sydney Morning Herald described Rooney’s work as “fewer literary works and more cultural products.”with Beautiful worldDid not appear in Booker’s long list this year (Ordinary people Finalist in 2018) is eye-catching.

The more deliberate criticism underscores the author’s concern about people who are almost entirely young, white, and privileged. Like Rooney himself, they are also very smart, and their environment is reflected in a seemingly relaxed, exquisite and cool writing style that is often self-referential. “On the one hand, I know that the human body is incredibly elastic,” Alice commented. “On the other hand, my strong peasant ancestors did not prepare me for a career as a widely despised celebrity novelist.”

Rooney’s ability to map macro issues to everyday consciousness is very suitable for the present.Her character rarely travels (if they do, it’s safe Europeans), has almost no direct means of action (except sex, which is frequent and detailed) and is in Beautiful world, The lock itself is referenced.

Rooney is now associated with the booming contemporary Irish literature. The literary magazine She edited, The Stinging Fly, helped start the careers of Nicole Flattery and Clare-Louise Bennett. These writers have few memories of the pre-Internet era, and their characters live their lives on smartphones.

However, although Rooney may be called “Snapchat Salinger”, it is worth noting that she did not share too much. Soon after Ireland held a referendum on abortion in 2018, she stopped tweeting, and she had campaigned for it.Details about her private life are still scarce, even though the husband John Prasivka she met at Trinity College Beautiful worldThanks for.

This silence shows the fact that although she is young and radical, behind the WhatsApp ping and Tinder screens, her writing is conservative in form; she herself admits the influence of this 19th-century novel on her work.

So what is Rooney’s next step? Novelists who are still young may be surprised by the bold new direction.Or maybe she has a bigger plan in her mind: the next volume of the next generation Growth novel This will witness her growing millennial generation in the process of being a parent, middle-aged, and aging.

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